Challenges and Trends When Powering Implantable Medical Devices

Integer’s Product Development Engineering Manager shares his insights about trends and challenges in manufacturing batteries for implantable medical devices and previews his presentation at the Medical Battery Conference at MD&M West.

Maria Guerra, Senior Editor-Battery Technology

February 7, 2023

2 Min Read
Integer Xcellion_Gen3_Batteries.jpg
Xcellion Gen3 Batteries by Integer.Courtesy of Integer.

Advances in battery technologies have made possible the development of long-lasting implantable batteries for medical devices such as pacemakers. Over the years, the size and power density of batteries have considerably improved but battery manufacturers keep finding room to innovate and achieve better designs and performance.

Integer is a medical device outsource (MDO) manufacturer serving the cardiac, neuromodulation, vascular, portable medical, Integer provides innovative, high-quality medical device design and manufacturing to medical device OEMs. Battery Technology spoke to Integer Product Development Engineering Manager Brian Hohl before his presentation at the Medical Battery Conference at MD&M West.

What power solutions does Integer offer for medical applications?

Integer Product Development Engineering Manager Brian Hohl: Integer offers multiple proprietary battery chemistries specifically developed for implanted medical device applications, delivering currents anywhere from a few microamps to several amps. We offer both primary and rechargeable solutions for pacemakers and defibrillators, neurostimulators, and sensors across a wide range of applications, including cardiac, orthopedic, diabetes, pain management and other neurological treatments.

Integer CFx_Gen2_Batteries.jpg

What are some of the trends that are emerging for implantable devices?

Hohl: What we are seeing is a broadening of applications beyond the traditional pacemaker/ implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) or neurostimulator requiring more diverse power source solutions. The adoption of Bluetooth is also becoming more popular.

What are some of the most common challenges when manufacturing batteries for implantable devices?

Hohl: Batteries must perform reliably and predictably over periods of 10 or more years. Assessing manufacturing changes to materials or processes to ensure there are no long-term impacts to battery performance is probably the most challenging aspect of battery manufacturing. Exacting quality controls and an in-depth understanding of the materials and processes are required. Before any specific battery is designed, Integer fully characterizes the chemistry and develops a set of detailed design rules. Long-term performance modeling, accelerated life-testing, and specific quality requirements are all used to ensure the impact of any change is well understood. These factors combined with years of engineering experience bring confidence that every battery meets the expectations of the customer and patient.

What is something about the medical industry that battery makers may not know?

Hohl: Power sources for implanted medical devices are under increasing scrutiny by regulators. Device manufacturers are being challenged to provide more evidence to justify their longevity claims. Short-term or accelerated data is no longer sufficient for making long term claims. Battery makers must be able to provide validated performance modeling that covers device use conditions.

What can attendees expect to learn from your presentation on “Powering New and Emerging Active Implantable Devices of the Future”?

Hohl: The talk will focus on how Integer is accelerating the development of new power sources that can support an ever-widening use of implanted devices. It will also cover what is currently possible and what is on the horizon.


About the Author(s)

Maria Guerra

Senior Editor-Battery Technology, Informa Markets Engineering

Battery Technology Senior Editor Maria L. Guerra is an electrical engineer with a background in Oil & Gas consulting and experience as a Power/Analog Editor for Electronic Design.  Maria graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE). She combines her technical expertise with her knack for writing. 

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